Huddersfield Solicitor Campaigns for New Missing Person Law

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Every year approximately 250,000 people are reported missing to police forces and other agencies across the United Kingdom.  When someone disappears it can be a devastating experience for family and friends.  The impacts often include legal and financial issues.  The charity Missing People is calling for improvements to be made to the support available to families of missing people.

Huddersfield Solicitor Sarah Young has been invited by the charity to a round table discussion at the House of Commons on Tuesday 23rd October.  The discussion hosted by the APPG for runaway and missing children and adults will explore the impact of new legislation that has been proposed.  The second reading of John Glenn MP’s Presumption of Death Bill will take place on Friday 2nd November.  It presents the government with an opportunity to create a timetable to progress the commitment to reform made in its response to the Justice Committee Report on this topic.

Although a missing person may be presumed dead, in the absence of a body it is very difficult to obtain a death certificate.  Without a death certificate families have to struggle to prove that their relative has died and are often faced with pursuing separate expensive legal processes in order to resolve different affairs such as a mortgage on a property, claiming life insurance and dissolving a marriage.  In England and Wales there is no single procedure (as there is in Scotland and Northern Ireland) for the registration of death when there is a declared presumption that a missing person is dead.

Missing People is calling on the government to introduce a single process under which a family member or other relevant party can apply to the court for a declaration of presumed death which will be valid for all purposes.

Sarah Young, a partner in Ridley & Hall commented:

“I specialise in inheritance and will disputes and have recently become involved in a number of cases involving local people who have gone missing.  The law currently is a real mishmash of legislation and urgently needs reform.  The families that I have been working with have been caused enormous stress and expense by the legal process.  I wholeheartedly support the campaign for a new presumption of death law”.

For further information please contact Sarah Young of Ridley and Hall, Queens House, 35 Market Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2HL on 01484 538421 or mobile 07860165850.